Taking Stock – April 2018

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March 2018

This lip liner by P.S. in the color wine goes with me everywhere  I go and I imagine it will be a part of my makeup collection for the rest of my life. It’s been a while since my last “taking stock” ; So here goes another one.

Making: my room more of what I’ve always wanted. My new bedroom set comes with two 6 drawer dressers and a leather headboard on the bed. I’ve never really put a lot of effort into decorating my bedroom before so I think it’s about time to do so since eventually I might have to decorate a home (cue Drake’s God’s plan). 

Eating: Just ate some tacos for lunch as fuel for the preparation of Easter dinner with the family. I was actually impressed by the tacos at Moe’s Southwest Grill (fun fact: my older brother actually used to work there in high school).

Drinking: water. I try to drink at least a liter of water everyday so that’s my beverage of choice 99% of the time. It’s good for your skin and helps with digestion so get on that H20

Reading: a business book that my brother lent me called The Compounding Effect by Darren Hardy.

Playing: God’s plan by Drake as well as The Weeknd’s new album. I am also a fanatic for soundcloud afrobeats mixes especially for workout music. 

Creating: memories with family as always. My niece just started walking last month and watching her grow is still a blessing each and every day.

Wishing: that everyone has a happy and safe Easter holiday.

Enjoying: working evening shift. Any one who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. At my new job I was hired to be evening shift but I had to be training on morning shift.  The transition to evening shift has been wonderful for me and my sleep in lifestyle.

Liking: This gel nailpolish I bought. I am not allowed to have manicured hands at work since I have to make intravenous fluids from time to time and nail polish harbors bacteria. However, I am able to have pedicured feet so I bought nail polish for that purpose.

Wondering: when I should schedule my next massage. I have a monthly massage membership since I have a bad back and so far it has been money well spent. Massages have other benefits like decreasing stress and anxiety so definitely consider including it in your life.

Loving: new shoes that I bought from Public Desire (an online store based in the UK) and some from lolashoetique (based in California). If you like platform heeled shoes, UK stores are definitely the place to buy them (yes these shoes are like 5 inches tall but very comfortable).

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Hoping: that I will get to travel some for vacation by the end of the year, both locally and internationally.

Marvelling: at how fast this year is flying by. 2018 has been good to me so far. I hope the blessings may continue.

Wearing: a dress that my sister-in-law gave me. I love dresses that don’t require ironing and this is one of them so I am happy to have it.

Noticing: that there’s something powerful about writing stuff down. I’ve journaled quite a bit this year and it’s like therapy to me so I plan to maintain that practice.

Knowing: that there’s always a bigger plan. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Furthermore, Wins and losses are all part of the journey. You can’t always win and you won’t always lose so don’t stress too hard about life.

Thinking: that we should cherish people when they’re with us as being together forever is not always guaranteed. Whether those people are work mates, friends, family, or even teachers, we should make it our duty to be our best selves for each other and especially for our own selves.

Feeling: liberated that I am right where I want to be right now in my life. At peace and truly grateful.   Thank you for reading. 🙂 ❤ 

What is love?

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Guka Ndogo’s valentine’s day feature – 2005, Kenya

This coming Wednesday is Valentine’s Day which is one of the highly debated holidays in our society. Some say its a capitalist exploit of love. Others say it’s the only holiday that celebrates romantic love. Most critics usually claim that they show their love to their partner 365 days a year and therefore, Valentine’s day is unnecessary. I think my stance is probably a mix of both. I don’t think Valentine’s day is that important but neither are some of the other holidays we have (Columbus day) yet we still choose to observe them. Either way, the most important thing on Valentine’s day and any other day is to understand what love is as well as what love is not. Therefore, I have come up with 10 personal descriptions of what love is to me.

  1. Love is when my dad clipped my shoe laces in high school because i was lazy and refused to tie my shoe laces when they came untied.
  2. Love is when my mom wakes up at the crack of dawn when we’re hosting parties so she can make all the amazing food that we love.
  3. Love is when my little brother gives me the biggest teddy bear hugs just because.
  4. Love is when my older brother made sure i had spending money in high school.
  5. Love is when my sister in law gifts me all her nice clothes that she no longer wears.
  6. Love is when my baby niece screams with excitement when she sees me after a long time apart.
  7. Love is when my grandfather’s brother (Guka Ndogo) took care of his wife for 40+ years when she went blind. Despite being 95+ years, he died only after his wife passed away. Their renewal of vows on their 50th wedding anniversary was actually featured in the Daily Nation, Kenya’s premier newspaper.
  8. Love is when my best friend would give me numerous car rides in high school when I didn’t have a car. Also, I can never forget that she’s attending 95% of my family’s graduations.
  9. Love is when I take myself out to get a massage and take time out to treat myself.
  10. Love is when I put my heart and soul into writing a blog post that touches someone’s life. On that note, I love all the feedback I get from those who read my blog.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s day whether you celebrate it or not! 🙂 ❤

The American Dream: Is America really the land of milk and honey?

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Mother’s day 2015

Having lived in the U.S. for almost 16 years now has been an enlightening experience. The expectations vs reality phenomenon is really real. To break it down for you, I’ll list 5 things my family expected when we were coming to America and the actual reality that we faced.

  1. We all expected to have a better life in the U.S. In fact, the reason my parents made the decision to move was so that my brothers and I could have more opportunities. However, I can undeniably say that my first year in the U.S. was one of the worst years of my life. I would cry myself to sleep every night because I wanted to go back to Kenya. The home that we lived in while in Kenya was far bigger than the house we ended up in while living most of our years in the U.S. (It’s about the same now expect we had a huge backyard in Kenya due to building our house above our family farm). I can’t say that life in the U.S. is better (maybe a little easier because of a lot more technology).
  2. Many people outside of America think that it’s so easy to make money in the U.S. This perception is especially true in so called “third world countries” (I never liked this label but it sounds much better as compared to what Trump said about the S*** countries.” The truth is the unemployment rate in these countries, including Kenya, is very high and therefore, it’s not as easy to get a job. So yes there are more opportunities to make money but what they don’t tell is that the cost of living in the U.S. is high as well. Therefore, my parents who had great careers in Kenya, my dad as the principal of a high school and my mom as a teacher had to work 2 jobs when they came to America just to make ends meet.
  3. One of the opportunities my parents really wanted for my brothers and I is better education. I wouldn’t say that the education system in the U.S. is better because you get a better education based on your income and where you live (this rings true in Kenya as well). However, I will say there are way more scholarships and financial aid opportunities in the U.S. so it’s much easier for someone to get higher education here than in other countries. My parents were able to get both a bachelors and masters within 10 years of living here which greatly improved their job opportunities. In Kenya, more education doesn’t necessary guarantee more jobs due to corruption and few jobs.
  4. My parent’s greatest fear was that my brothers and I would lose our culture. I can’t say that this happened but we did lose some language skills in term of the tribal languages that we used to speak. We all still speak some Swahili so at least we have that. In terms of culture, we all still love Kenyan food, music, and keep up with the news. We also go back at least every 3 to 4 years so Kenya will always be a part of our lives.
  5. The last expectation is something that I’ll have to wait some years to find out. We all expect to retire in Kenya someday but it seems with every passing year we’re even more rooted in the U.S. In fact, we’ve become so used to the way of life in the U.S. that we sometimes get frustrated about how some things are run in Kenya. However, east or west, home is best (and in our hearts, Kenya will always be home).

I hope this breakdown helps those who want to come to America and are not sure what to expect or the Americans who wonder how others perceive their country. 🙂 ❤

INCEPTION

-originally written on June 2, 2011

So on MAY 17, 2011 I graduated from HIGH SCHOOL which means I am officially college bound. Ironically it was also my father’s 50th birthday but that was unfortunately overshadowed by my milestone. On the upside, he never remembers his birthday anyway and he still looks like he’s 40 which means I am destined to age slowly (crossing my fingers for no wrinkles since gray hairs do not run in my family). That’s right forget the crap about embracing age and the nature that comes with it (poor eyesight, aching bones, foggy memory etc), i want to be youthful or semi-youthful forever!

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Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Anyway, let’s get back on topic and away from my fear of aging, So in 3 months since school here opens in September, I will be an American campus girl ( allusion to savvy’s Kenyan campus girl which inspired me to start this blog). I am excited to move from Alabama which is not a very vibrant place to Boston which is one of the most lively places in the U.S.  I’ll be attending Northeastern University to study Pharmacy and they have an awesome program that will enable me to become a Doctor of Pharmacy in six years. So can you imagine that, me as a 24 yr old girl ehem woman/lady that will be referred to as Dr.Mercy! I am beyond excited, not so much because of the title “DOCTOR”,  but because of the lifestyle and the flexibility that a pharmacy career offers. I want to first assure you that I am not a GOLD DIGGER but alluding to this phrase that i have recently coined “there’s nothing wrong with being a gold digger if you are digging your OWN gold”.

Either way, like everyone else in this world, I have a dream (MLK voice) where I live without the worry of money. I am not saying I want to be Oprah or Donald Trump rich…I just want to be comfortable. In the U.S. as a single person it is possible to live comfortably on 30K considering you have a normal apartment etc. The starting salary of a pharmacist is between 75-79K and the median salary is 100K which means that this dream will essentially be reality if all goes well. Bring a husband and kids in the picture and a picturesque house and Voila!, that’s the so-called American Dream that you have possibly heard of. Of course kids will come later since by my standard 24 is too young to start a family i am leaning on earliest at 26 and latest at 28. That gives me 2-4 years to settle down, “figure myself out”, and most importantly enjoy my dwindling YOUTH. Also, just so you don’t think I am a self-centered selfish person which isn’t 100% wrong, I plan to come to work with the WHO (World Health Organization) or Doctors Without Borders to facilitate medicine in developing nations. Haven’t worked out how i will do it but I do know that in order to do so, I think I should work in some pharmaceutical development company and somehow guilt them into giving out some of their samples to people in need in developing nations whether it be TYLENOL or some Anti-biotics. Anyway don’t be frightened into thinking that, à la “The Gardener ” (google movie for reference), experimental medicine will be distributed to these poor people as a ploy to use them as guinea pigs. I think the transparency will be the key in making a sustainable impact to the disenfranchised communities that I want to help. I’m all about sustainability in terms of outreach as exemplified by philanthropists such as Bill Gates (who I really look up to, like the rest of the world).

Anyway, this is the most challenging part of my dream because it doesn’t rest solely on my abilities.

the American Dream

After starting a family and raising my kids to the best of my abilities, I plan to retire at the age of 50 or 55 despite the fact that the retirement age in the U.S. is 65. Following my retirement, I plan to return to Kenya and live somewhere nice, maybe Westlands or Nyahururu and maybe try to get a position in the Ministry of Health that actively aims to help people or just start a chain of Pharmacy clinics in Kenya.

Either way something inside me tells me I am destined for greatness and to produce great change…so if Kenya’s government has not gotten its crap together by say 2040 then I with the help of the disillusioned Kenyan masses want to start a revolution where we demand honesty and accountability from the government instead of sitting in front of our TVs and taking whatever they throw at us with our 4 o’clock tea. In essence, I just want to be a part of something that gives back to the country that I owe my entire existence to. I love KENYA and I want nothing but the BEST for it.

So my fellow readers and Kenyans, I apologize for indulging you in 5 paragraphs all about ME although i am guessing that’s what I usually do so in that case Thank You for indulging in 5 paragraphs about my hopes and dreams. I wish you all the best in your dreams and future. And in 50 years I hope to come back and tell you all that everything worked out perfectly despite life’s unending surprises. In the meantime, what are your dreams, and have you achieved them? If not, how do you plan to do so?